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  • 14
    Sharp drop in net speculative positions in Brent; Iran interim deal start date

    ... closed the week ended 7 January down USD 4.75/bbl WoW to USD 93.67/bbl, taking the discount to Brent to USD 13.68/bbl. The WTI discount to Brent has since widened to around the USD 15/bbl mark on further WTI weakness. The interim nuclear deal between Iran and the P5+1 group is set to commence on 20 January, it has been announced. Iran is expected to take immediate steps to halt progress of its nuclear programme, render its stockpile of 20% enriched uranium unsuitable for further enrichment, as well ...

  • 30
    Iran potential to drive oil price up weakening

    In our view, Iran was a key driver behind the strength of oil prices during 2012. We expect that the Iran factor will probably have less potency in terms of its impact on oil prices this year because Iranian production has slumped, but now appears to be stabilising,...

  • 3
    The EU embargo on imports of Iranian crude starts

    The EU embargo on imports of Iranian crude started on Sunday. The new US sanctions became applicable last Thursday. Market consensus appears to be that the new measures will cut Iranian supply to the market incrementally by around 1mmb/d; we expect the impact to be considerably less....

  • 2
    China waiver completes defenestration of new Iran sanctions

    On 28 June, the US Administration issued «significant reduction» waivers to China and Singapore. That was the last possible date on which it could have done so, and the two countries were the last remaining significant importers of Iranian petroleum that did not already have them. In our view, the US has now substantially lessened the likely incremental impact from these new sanctions on Iranian supply to the market. We doubt that they will result in the reduction of around 1mmb/d ...

  • 22
    China: Strong growth in crude oil imports, including Iranian oil

    ....6%-4.4% range currently forecast by the IEA, OPEC and EIA in their latest oil market monthly reports. US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was quoted in the media on Wednesday stating that, based on the latest data, China was reducing its purchases of Iranian crude oil. Our analysis, based on data originating from the China Customs Information Centre, suggests otherwise. On a YoY basis, Chinese imports of Iranian crude did indeed fall 2% in May and are down 24% YoY for the YTD. However, it is widely ...

  • 13
    US emasculates new Iran sanctions

    On 11 June, the US State Department granted ‘significant reduction’ waivers to India, Malaysia, the Republic of Korea, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Turkey and Taiwan. That means the US has now effectively exempted all of the major importers of Iranian crude, with the exception of China, from the new sanctions. As we do not expect the US to apply its new sanctions powers effectively on China, the result of this latest decision is to emasculate the potential direct impact of the new US sanctions,...

  • 24
    EIA dataIran predominates crude price action

    ... like a fairly neutral set of numbers to us but Brent is down almost USD 3/bbl on the day (at 23:00 Moscow/20:00 BST) and WTI has tested the USD 90/bbl mark. Brent has now lost all the surge in price it put on from the end of last year as a result of Iranian sabre rattling. Ironically, the current impetus for this latest weakness is the potential prospect of a deal between the P5+1 group and Iran that could dent market expectations of a significant loss of Iranian crude supply from the end of June....

  • 17
    Iran continues to drive oil price

    Since the start of Iran’s naval exercises in the Strait of Hormuz at Christmas time and multiple events since (most recently the suggestion that Iran might have pre-emptively cut supplies to some EU members), Iran, its nuclear programme, related sanctions and Iran’s ...

  • 23
    EU sanctions Iran

    As was widely expected, the EU Council yesterday adopted wide-ranging new sanctions on Iran, which are intended to supplement the existing sanctions related to Iran’s nuclear programme. In addition to the embargo on petroleum imports, new sanctions included an embargo on petrochemical imports and restrictions on financing and equipment ...

  • 22
    EIA data – Crude oil inventory reaches seven-month high

    ... A number of reasons have been attributed to this fall in prices, including hedge fund selling in an overbought market, concerns that QE3, the Fed’s asset buying programme, could end earlier than expected and even possible positive developments on Iran. None of these are particularly convincing, in our view. However, while the market appears tighter than previously thought, it is oversupplied, even at current low OPEC production levels. Should OPEC production stabilise, or even pick up prospectively ...

  • 22
    China: Record refinery throughput

    ... production plus net imports) as compared to the refinery side methodology would imply a draw in crude inventory but also a likely build in product inventory. Meanwhile, data published by the General Administration of Customs of China had crude imports from Iran up 165kb/d (39%) MoM to 589kb/d, the second highest in a year. China’s imports of Iranian crude were down 116kb/d (21%) YoY, with the large dip in early 2012 likely attributable to a commercial disagreement between the parties while the dip in ...

  • 12
    Call on OPEC

    ... fall in Nigerian production, which is likely to prove partly temporary as problems with extensive flooding are overcome. In addition, both Iraq and Angola are likely to see production increase as new capacity comes onstream. For the moment at least, Iranian production appears to have stabilised. While although off its peak, the Saudi surge put on in the summer of 2011 remains largely in place. On average, these sources put current OPEC production at 30.9mmb/d, almost 1mmb/d above the likely call ...

  • 11
    Preliminary data has Chinese oil demand at an all-time high

    ... Meanwhile, last Friday the US deemed India, Malaysia, Republic of Korea, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Turkey, Taiwan, Singapore and, notably, China, to have qualified for exceptions to sanctions on the basis of reduced volumes of crude oil purchases from Iran. As a result, the US has now effectively exempted all major importers of Iranian crude, extending the emasculation of the potential direct impact of US sanctions enacted last December, in our view. We note that the US chose to grant exceptions to ...

  • 5
    OPEC meeting heads-up

    ... producing almost flat out, with the exception of Saudi Arabia. There could be a more lively debate around a successor to Abdalla El-Badri as Secretary General. Meetings earlier in the year failed to resolve the issue, with candidates from Saudi Arabia, Iran and Iraq all still vying for the post, we understand, after the Ecuadorian candidate dropped out. It remains our view that it is only a matter of time before the ongoing build in inventory outweighs the ability of geopolitical worries or demand ...

  • 4
    Net speculative positions rise

    ... rise in net speculative longs in Brent. Meanwhile, December is looking like a busy month as far as the oil markets are concerned. Towards the end of the week, we expect the US to renew, or allow to expire, the ‘significant reduction’ waivers on Iranian oil import sanctions it had issued to India, Malaysia, the Republic of Korea, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Turkey and Taiwan. While in the following week, the major forecasters, the EIA, OPEC and IEA, publish their monthly reports on oil markets. ...

  • 7
    EIA cuts 2013 supply surplus by cutting OPEC production forecast

    ... as compared with current production of 30.8mmb/d and down 1.6% YoY. OPEC production was flat MoM at 30.8mmb/d according to the STEO, with production gains in Angola and Iraq offset by production cuts in Nigeria (flooding and pipeline sabotage) and Iran. The EIA now puts Iranian production at 2.6mmb/d (down from 3.45mmb/d at the start of the year), though the rate of decline has eased to just 0.05mmb/d MoM. Crude available for export (production less domestic consumption) is estimated at 1.5mmb/d....

  • 6
    Oil price correction might be underway

    The Brent price has dropped USD 10/bbl over the last three weeks to levels last seen at the start of August, when the oil price was recovering sharply from its 2Q12 sell-off, boosted by Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu’s belligerent comments over Iran, in our view. Given the volatility in the oil price over the last year, it is probably too early to state definitively that the oil price is correcting downwards since it has yet to breach even one standard deviation from the mean. However, it remains ...

  • 25
    EIA data – Bearish numbers

    ... distillate demand fared worse, dropping 0.4mmb/d (-9.1%) WoW and 17% YoY. Brent has been sliding over the past week, despite a host of events that might have been expected to provide support (including continuing ME tension, US/Israel military exercises, Iran’s threats to cut exports, force majeure declarations on Nigerian exports and delays in restarting the Buzzard field). We have reservations as to the market finding this data set supportive, although the crude oil inventory situation is in line ...

  • 11
    IEA special report on Iraq

    ... OPEC production appears to have eased somewhat in September, with Argus estimating output at 31.3mmb/d and MEES and PIW at 31.5mmb/d. Maintenance work in Angola is cited as a key contributor to the decline, as is further supply disruption in Nigeria. Iranian production might be showing signs of stabilising, with one journal showing a 100kb/d pickup in production. Exports to Japan resumed after no deliveries in July (+100kb/d MoM), while exports to China fell (-80kb/d MoM). It is worth noting that,...

  • 13
    EIA data – Demand plummets

    ... the turn of the year, per the IEA’s statistics, and look set to continue to be oversupplied through 2013 should OPEC maintain August production levels. In our view, the oil price is being propped up by tension in the Middle East, particularly over Iran’s nuclear ambitions. We remain sceptical that Israel will launch an overt unilateral attack on Iran. As and when the markets take the view that threats of such an attack are unlikely to be followed up with action, we expect oil to sell-off sharply....

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